Saturday, December 27, 2014

2nd Annual Diversity Month Day 27:Blogger Interview w/ Librarian Hannah +Kindle Fire 6" and Book Giveaway!

So today's guest is the awesome-smaw-some Librarian Hannah Gomez.

We had the pleasure of meeting her at this year's KidLitCon(which by the way was intimidating XD)
And it occurred to us, that this would be the prefect opportunity to ask if she might participate in our 2nd Annual Diversity Month.

We featured her on our list of "Why We Need Diverse Bloggers" when we highlighted Black book bloggers during Black Speculative Fiction Month, but it's still the tip of the iceberg of what makes the writer of Mclicious.org tick!

Her experience in libraries was also what made her a great choice, as we wanted to open our floor to librarians, the real gateway to children and diverse books.

If you dont know her, you will today!

Twinja Book Reviews Presents Hannah Gomez

As a long time follower, I have to say, it was awesome to finally meet you =) Im sure most people already know you, but why do you tell us more about you?
 "Photo Courtesy of Mclicious.org"

In no particular order: I'm a mixed race transracial adoptee, the daughter and sister of teachers, a reader and bibliophile, a sometime amateur musician, a new postulate in the cult of spinning classes, a gluten-free foodie, a future novelist and screenwriter, and an aspiring television producer. :-)

Your blog "MCLICIOUS"? I have to know! What inspired the title? What is the main focus on your blog?

McLicious is a nickname that no one actually uses except me. When Grey's Anatomy was first getting big and the nicknames McDreamy and McSteamy were a thing, I was making fun of a guy who had made a similar nickname for his girlfriend, and he said he bet I would like it if someone called me McLicious. So there you go. My blog doesn't have a title anymore, just my name, because I guess I'm still figuring out what the title should be, and the only thing that really ties my blog posts together is that they're mine.

The blog itself morphed out of my angsty livejournal when I felt like trying a new platform, so it didn't really develop a strict focus, since it was just me blogging. Thankfully, I've mostly stopped using it as a public journal and mostly focus on talking about media (mostly books) that I love or hate or find problematic. I guess now my theme is kind of to skip the handholding and patting on the back that many people tend to do when talking about diversity and privilege issues in media and move right into the real talk. I have no time for platitudes. They get us nowhere.

Do you feel as though your experience as a librarian affects how you critique books? 

I was blogging long before I became a librarian or even wanted to become one, so in that sense, no. I'm a reader first, a writer second, and a librarian third. Librarian was a backup job I fell into when I found the graduate program I wanted to go to and it happened to be linked to a library science program. I suppose it is inevitable that working in a field that is tied to literature would affect the way I review and critique books, but as far as what I set out to do when reading, I don't ever intend to write reviews in the same way you would for a librarians' magazine. My intent isn't to summarize a book and its quality so that a collection development librarian can decide whether a book is worth buying. There are already people and publications that do that. My intent is always just to write about books that make me think.

Here's something we'd love to know! Do you have a system to how you review books? 

I don't have any sort of system! I wish I did, because I like being organized and I hate not being able to review or even read all the books I'm lucky enough to get from publishers. But I already work two jobs, so until I'm able to make writing about books (and someday writing books) a job that pays the rent (or at least the electric bill), I don't have the time to stick to a schedule. I also don't often "review" books - I just write about them if they give me something to think about and something to say. If I read a book and it's fine but I don't have much to say, I don't really post about it. I don't really do memes or star ratings or anything, just because I find them hard to sustain and impossible to make consistent.

As a gladiator for diversity(yea we're totally corny) what are some of things you wish you saw more in books when it comes to diversity? What was the last book that you read, where you thought diversity was handled flawlessly?

I want to see more of all kinds of diversity in all kinds of books! Is that enough? haha. If I look at this as just a plain reader and bibliophile and think about what I felt like I was missing as a kid and a teenager, two things come to mind: urban fantasy/speculative fiction (real life kids discovering magic in the backyard or the school basement types) and snarky, quirky realistic (smart kids into indie music and lit mag and the like). 

Alaya Dawn Johnson is excellent, and her new book, Love is the Drug, did a great job being about upper class African American culture while also being a scifi mystery-thriller, which I don't think I've ever seen in a novel. There is this pervasive idea that if it's not about white culture or in English, it's obscure and foreign and instantly marked as Just For Those People or at least not welcoming to other readers, even though that's absurd and ignores the fact that those of us who come from other cultures are still expected to know all sorts of off-the-cuff references to cultural indicators of the white experience as if they're absolutely universal to everyone. So I loved that in this book, there were references to things like Jack and Jill.

Even though you brought up some awesome ways at KidLitCon, this is still a difficult question to answer. What can we be doing more of, to make sure kids, and adults, are finding and purchasing diverse titles?

There is SO MUCH we can be doing to support diversity in children's and YA lit, like reviewing titles, tweeting about titles, recommending books to others, etc. But the number one thing really isn't being said enough: we need to support diversity by NOT BUYING OTHER BOOKS until we see the diversity we're demanding. Yes, we all need things to read, but I'm sure we all have piles at our houses (plus library cards), so to continue to buy books that further the status quo just because we want something to read while we wait for the diversity says that in fact we don't need diversity. Publishers respond to money, and it's going to take actively hurting their bottom line to really get them to listen. Don't buy books that aren't helping. Don't review books that aren't helping. Don't promote books that aren't helping. It's sad and almost mean, but it needs to happen.

Finally, where can us fans(new and old) go to get twitter updates, new info on blog posts, or just anything Hannah Gomez?

You can always find me at mclicious.org or @shgmclicious on Twitter! I mostly lurk on Tumblr, but I'm trying to get better at it, so you can find me there at ireadeverything.tumblr.com. Anything else I do on the Internet I will link to from my main site. 

Thanks for having me, Twinjas! You are too kind, really.

There are literally only days left before our giveaway ends! So do take the time to enter! It could be your last shot at winning some amazing prizes!
 

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me again!

    ReplyDelete
  2. @mclicious.org it was awesome to meet and have you!

    ReplyDelete

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